(Snippets from the frontline)
Surviving war and hospitalization
Robert, a Vietnam veteran, returned from the war zone without physical or psychologic scars, and did not adopt the habits of smoking or drinking.
Thirty years ago he survived throat cancer, and now in his 70s faced progressive swallowing problems requiring tube feedings.
Yet he resides in his comfort zone with his wife in a three-generation household having lived the American dream.
Robert was admitted to the hospital with bilateral pneumonia requiring antibiotics. On the fourth day, discharge planning began a daily ritual advising he “did not meet criteria for further hospitalization.” Their suggestion: Send him to a nursing home.
I queried if home IV antibiotics could be given: The non-covered out-of-pocket cost would be $1000 per day.
Tube feeding at home had caused diarrhea, yet a different type required insurance pre-authorization paperwork that was filed and denied. Ditto for medication used for depression and anxiety.
Therefore, I kept Robert in the hospital completing 7 days of IV antibiotics; bargained with a company on out-of-pocket cost for his feedings; and found a cheaper prescription online for his medication.
Then, I sent this deserved veteran back to his comfort zone.
Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.